Nazanin Afshin-Jam

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Nazanin Afshin-Jam
Nazanin Afshin-Jam - TEDx Vancouver 2010 - West Vancouver, BC4.jpg
Nazanin Afshin-Jam at TEDxVancouver 2010
Born (1979-04-11) April 11, 1979 (age 37)
Tehran, Iran
Residence Vancouver, British Columbia
Title Miss World Canada 2003
Spouse(s) Peter MacKay (m. 2012)
  • Kian Alexander
  • Valentia Makaja
  • Afshin Afshin-Jam (father)
  • Jaleh Afshin-Jam (mother)
Awards Miss World Canada 2003 (winner)
Miss World 2003
(1st runner-up)

Nazanin Afshin-Jam (Persian: نازنین افشین‌جم, born April 11, 1979) is an Iranian-Canadian entertainer, public speaker and human rights activist. She is a former Miss World Canada. She is also president and co-founder of Stop Child Executions. She immigrated to Canada with her family in 1981. She is married to Peter MacKay, as of 2013, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.


Nazanin Afshin-Jam was born on April 11, 1979 in Tehran, Iran. Her father was the head of Sheraton Hotel in Tehran (now Tehran Homa Hotel) which was frequented by westerners. During the Iranian revolution her father was jailed by revoluionary guards. After he got freed he fled Iran with his family to Spain, and after a year moved to Canada and settled in Vancouver.[1][2]

Education and Red Cross work[edit]

Afshin-Jam graduated from the University of British Columbia with degrees in international relations and political science.[3] Following her matriculation, Afshin-Jam served with the Red Cross as a Global Youth Educator,[3] becoming involved in such matters as land mines, children and war, the poverty-disease cycle, and natural disasters.[4] She returned to university and received M.A. in diplomacy with a concentration in international conflict management from Norwich University.[when?][4]

Miss World competition[edit]

In 2003, Afshin-Jam became Miss World Canada and joined in the Miss World contest in Sanya, China, where she ranked second.[5]

Activism and awards[edit]

Afshin-Jam was opposed to the death penalty being applied to 18-year-old Iranian woman Nazanin Mahabad Fatehi, who was sentenced to hang for stabbing one of three men who tried to rape her and her niece in Karaj in March 2005.[6] She started a campaign to help save the life of this minor including a petition which attracted more than 350,000 signatures worldwide.[7] She has also dedicated her song Someday, one of the twelve songs on her similarly titled album Someday to Nazanin Fatehi.[8] Eventually, with pressure from the international community, Nazanin Fatehi was granted a new trial by the head of Judiciary in June 2006. In January 2007, Nazanin Fatehi was exonerated of murder charges and was released after Afshin-Jam raised $43,000 on-line for bail while her lawyers worked on her case.[9] For her efforts in helping save Nazanin Fatehi, Afshin-Jam was awarded the "hero for human rights award" from Youth For Human Rights International[10] and Artists for Human Rights.[11] The Tale of Two Nazanins by Afshin-Jam and Susan McClelland, chronicling the divergent lives of the 2 Iranian Nazanins whose lives intersected during Fatehi's trial, was published by HarperCollins.[12]

Afshin-Jam initiated Stop Child Executions Campaign and petition to help other children on death row; the campaign was registered as a non-profit organization with 501-C 3 status in 2008.[citation needed] She is co-founder and President of Stop Child Executions Organization, whose aim is to try to put a permanent end to executions of minors in Iran and abroad.[13]

On September 23, 2008, Afshin-Jam organized "Ahmadinejad's Wall of Shame" rally at Dag Hammarskjöld park across the United Nations in New York as Ahmadinejad was addressing the General Assembly.[14] In November 2008, Afshin-Jam received the "Global Citizenship Award" by the University of British Columbia's Alumni Association[15] In April 2009, Afshin-Jam received the "Human Rights Hero Award" from UN Watch in Geneva, Switzerland.[16]

In 2009 Afshin-Jam was given Emerging Leader Peacemaker Award by the YMCA's Power of Peace Awards [17]

In 2009, Afshin-Jam signed an open letter of apology posted to along with 266 other Iranian academics, writers, artists, journalists about the Persecution of Bahá'ís.[18] That same year she chaired the first annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.[19] In 2012, she advocated for the closure of Canadian embassy in Tehran.[20]

In 2012, Afshin-Jam receives the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal [21]

In 2016 Afshin-Jam MacKay was conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa from the University of Western Ontario [22]

Documentary film work[edit]

Afshin-Jam participated, together with eight other women's rights activists, in the documentary film Honor Diaries which explores the issues of gender-based violence and inequality in Muslim-majority societies. Her personal story was featured alongside those of the other activists, all of whom are working to combat gender prejudice that is embedded in honor-based societies.[23]


Afshin-Jam's debut album, Someday was released in April 2007 by Bodog Music. It spans many different music genres, including world music influenced by Alabina.[24]

Several of Afshin-Jam's songs have made the Top 30 and Top 40 charts. Her debut single, "I Dance 4 U" charted at #20 in the Music Week - Commercial Pop Top 30 Club Chart (a music video for the song has been released).[citation needed] Afshim-Jam's single "Someday" has been climbing the FMQB Top 40 chart in the U.S. and is currently at #7.[25] Her new single "I Do" reached #39 on the Billboard Chart in adult contemporary music. A Christmas single "On Christmas Day" has also made the charts, ranking #59 on the ACQB chart.[citation needed] The proceeds from the song are contributed to the Stop Child Executions Campaign.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Afshin-Jam was born in Tehran, Iran. A licensed pilot, she flies both powered aircraft and gliders and achieved the highest rank in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets—Warrant Officer First Class.[27] On January 4, 2012, Afshin-Jam married Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (as of 2013),[28] at a private ceremony in Mexico.[29] The couple has one son born in 2013 and one daughter born in 2015.[30][31]


  • Afshin-Jam, Nazanin; McClelland, Susan (2012). The Tale of Two Nazanins. Scarborough Ontario: HarperCollins Canada. ISBN 9781554689729. 


  1. ^ Azizi, Arash. "Nazanin Afshin-Jam, from miss world to minister's wife (Persian)". Retrieved 10 June 2016. 
  2. ^ "Nazanin Afshin-Jam: A model of achievement". National Post. National Post. 
  3. ^ a b "Peter Mackay marries Nazanin Afshin-Jam, former Miss World Canada". National Post. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Nazanin Afshin-Jam: Peter MacKay's New Wife A Woman Of Many Talents". The Huffington Post Canada. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "Irish Miss World begins reign". ABC Online. Agence France-Presse. 2003-12-07. Retrieved 2014-05-06. 
  6. ^ Humphreys, Adrian (2012-01-06). "Nazanin Afshin-Jam: A model of achievement". National Post. Retrieved 2014-05-06. 
  7. ^ "Nazanin Afshin-Jam, Peter MacKay's glamourous wife, tells story of girl trapped by Iran's twisted culture". National Post. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  8. ^ "MacKay fuels questions on his future — and love life". Toronto Star. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  9. ^ Smith, Charlie (2007-02-02). "Pageant power redux: Nazanin Afshin-Jam scores a human-rights triumph". The Georgia Straight. Retrieved 2014-05-06. 
  10. ^ Love, Emma (2007-08-11). "Rising star:Nazanin Afshin-Jam, campaigner". The Observer. Retrieved 2014-05-06. 
  11. ^ Lopez, Kathryn Jean (2006-09-07). "United Behind Human Rights". The Cedartown Standard. Newspaper Enterprise Association. p. 4A. 
  12. ^ Smith, Charlie (2012-07-04). "The Tale of Two Nazanins coauthor Nazanin Afshin-Jam reveals that the other Nazanin is alive". The Georgia Straight. Retrieved 2014-05-07. 
  13. ^ "Peter MacKay Weds Former Beauty Queen". Huffington Post. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  14. ^ "Iranian groups to stage rally in N.Y. titled 'Ahmadinejad, why do you execute children?'". Haaretz. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  15. ^ "Alumni Achievement Awards « UBC Alumni Affairs". 2011-11-29. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  16. ^ "UN Watch Congratulates Human Rights Activist Nazanin Afshin-Jam". UN Watch. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ "We are ashamed!". 2009-02-04. Retrieved 2014-05-07. 
  19. ^ "Program, Sunday, April 19, 2009". Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. 
  20. ^ "Iran embassy report suggests little threat months before closure". 30 November 2014. 
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Chicago Film Festival". Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  24. ^ Goodman, Dean (2007-04-27). "Beauty queen gives "voice to voiceless"". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  25. ^ "Radio Industry News, Music Industry Updates, Arbitron Ratings, Music News and more!". FMQB. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  26. ^ Smith, Julia Llewellyn (2007-11-04). "Little miss perfect". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-05-07. 
  27. ^ "Peter MacKay and Nazanin Afshin-Jam expecting baby in new year". Toronto Sun. Canoe Sun Media. 7 September 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  28. ^ "The Honourable Peter Gordon Mackay". Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  29. ^ "Peter MacKay weds former beauty queen". CBC News. 2012-01-04. Retrieved 2014-05-07. 
  30. ^ "Defence Minister Peter MacKay announces birth of son Kian Alexander". CTV News. 2013-04-01. Retrieved 2014-05-07. 
  31. ^ (retrieved 2016-12-12)

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Lynsey Bennett
Miss World Canada
Succeeded by
Tijana Arnautović
Preceded by
Natalia Peralta
Miss World Americas
Succeeded by
María Julia Mantilla
Preceded by
Natalia Peralta
Miss World First Runner-up
Succeeded by
Claudia Cruz